New Series: Massage and …...
Over the next few months, I am going to look at how massage can help with different conditions or problems. If you would like me to address anything in particular, please reply to this email. I hope to cover subjects such as Arthritis, Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis, Motor Neurone Disease, and others.
The first one is Massage and Arthritis.
Arthritis is an inflammatory condition causing pain, swelling and sometimes deformities to the joints. The two most common types are rheumatoid arthritis, which is an autoimmune disease whereby the immune system attacks the joints, and osteoarthritis, which is related to ageing and the natural wear and tear on the joints.
Around 10 million people in the UK are thought to have arthritis (source Versus Arthritis). It can affect people of all ages, including children and teenagers. There is no cure, but treatments can help. It can be acute, meaning short term, or chronic, meaning long term.
How can massage help with Arthritis?
Studies have shown that regular medium pressure massage can be very useful in relieving pain, easing muscle stiffness, improving flexibility in muscles, joints and tendons, reducing inflammation and lowering stress (Flourish, arthritis.ca; Arthritis Foundation, arthritis.org). Moderate massage pressure increases blood flow and triggers production of the hormone serotonin, which relieves pain. The soft tissue manipulations will ease muscle stiffness and improve the flexibility of the joints, so improving your ability to carry out routine tasks and enjoy everyday life. The massage will help you reach a state of relaxation and reduce stress caused by the condition.
If you suffer from arthritis and visit a massage therapist, make sure you inform them of the condition, as the massage may need to be adapted. For example, if you are suffering from a current flare-up and an area is inflamed or particularly painful, it may need to be avoided. The joints may need extra cushioning or support during the massage. The massage therapist should show extra care around affected areas as the skin may be fragile and prone to bruising or damage.
There are essential oils that can help, applied either in the massage oil or through an aroma diffuser. Benzoin is a resin that has anti-inflammatory properties and can improve blood circulation. It also has a sedative effect to aid relaxation. Rosemary is a stimulating and cleansing and can reduce stress and lift mood. Juniper can also help with circulation and reduce stress and anxiety. Ginger can help with pain and stiffness.
Have you experience of massage and arthritis? Comment below and be entered into a draw for a free massage!